William Chrisman teacher charged with assault will not be returning to class this year.
Students at William Chrisman High School will not see a longtime social studies teacher return to the classroom this year.
Gene Hoppe, a 36-year teaching veteran, was placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with assault in March following an incident with a student. Nancy Lewis, public relations director for the Independence School District, confirmed that Hoppe, “is still on leave, pending the outcome of all investigations.”
Hoppe and a female student were “playing around” in class in early March when Hoppe grabbed her right arm in an attempt to release pens the student was holding, according to the police report filed with the Independence Police Department. In an attempt to make Hoppe release her, the student kicked Hoppe.
Hoppe admits to exchanging several kicks with the student, but said the act was in “self defense.”
The student, who has not been identified by police because she is a minor, reported that she suffered injuries as a result from the incident. The police report said that she showed police officers a bruised area on the front middle of her shin and also said there was a bruised area on the “left side of her groin area.”
Lewis said it is unclear when the district’s investigation will conclude, but Hoppe is due for his first court appearance June 10. The date was pushed back from the original court date of March 31.
Hoppe said by telephone Wednesday that he has been advised by his attorney not to comment on the charges that have been brought against him. However, he said he did not “ask for anything” in regard to the continuance. Hoppe’s lawyer, Fred Wickham, did not return telephone calls made to him.
The student, Lewis said, has returned to classes at William Chrisman.